Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

Largest Celebrity Donors

Recently released...

The Giving Back Fund's second annual Giving Back 30 survey which is a ranking of the 30 celebrities who have made the largest donations to charity in 2007 according to public records.

No surprise at who sits at the number 1 spot. Although I didn't know Herb Alpert was such a giver. I didn't even know he was still around! Also, I certainly would have expected to see a hell of a lot more individual donors on this list. America is the richest nation on earth, with thousands, if not millions of millionaires and billionaires combined. This list doesn't reflect that at all. I suppose there could be some who've opted to remain anonymous, and if so, props to them.

Here are the top 5 :

1 Oprah Winfrey - $50,200,000
To the Oprah Winfrey Foundation and Oprah's Angel Network; to "support the inspiration, empowerment and education of women, children, and families around the world; to encourage people around the world to make a difference in the lives of others
2 Herb Alpert - $13,000,000
To The Herb Alpert Foundation. In 2007 the Herb Alpert Foundation distributed more than $50,000,000 million in grants, which included a $30,000,000 gift to UCLA. Since 1988 Mr. Alpert has donated more than $100,000,000 million to the Herb Alpert Foundation
3 Barbra Streisand - $11,000,000
To the Barbra Streisand Foundation, numerous civil liberties, environmental, and civil rights organizations "dedicated to democratic values," Hawaii Community Foundation
4 Paul Newman - $10,005,000
$10 million to Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio from which he graduated, for a scholarship program; an additional $5,000 to Ypsilanti High School's drama department
5 Mel Gibson - $9,899,654
To the AP Reilly Foundation, the tax-exempt entity named for his late mother, which supports Holy Family Catholic Church in Malibu, California

See the remaining 25 here: THE GIVING BACK 30

Would You Like Breast Milk With That?

Hat tip to Womanist-Musings for this one.

I simply don't have the words... just read on.

A Swiss gastronomist has stirred a controversy in the tranquil Alpine republic after announcing that he will serve meals cooked with human breast milk.

The owner of the Storchen restaurant in the exclusive Winterthur resort will improve his menu with local specialties such as meat stew and various soups and sauces containing at least 75 per cent of mother's milk.

"We have all been raised on it. Why should we not include it into our diet?" Hans Locher, who has become Switzerland most controversial restaurant owner, said.

Mr Locher attracted the attention of the leading media of the German-speaking world this week after he posted ads looking for women donors, who will receive just over three pounds for 14 ounces of their milk (that's about $5.4 for what amounts to a large cup of coffee).

He said: "I first experimented with breast milk when my daughter was born.
"One can cook really delicious things with it. However, it always needs to be mixed with a bit of whipped cream, in order to keep the consistency."

The food control authority in Switzerland was initially confused by the apparent loophole in local legislation regulating the use of human milk and it was not clear whether Mr Locher could actually be banned from serving his specialties.

"Humans as producers of milk are simply not envisaged in the legislation.
"They are not on the list of approved species such as cows and sheep, but they are also not on the list of the banned species such as apes and primates," Rolf Etter of the Zurich food control laboratory said.


McCain's Sexist Treatment Of Palin

I was just thinking the exact same thing...

Who's the real sexist here, Senator McCain? Who's being the most disrespectful? Based on your treatment of Palin, you've done more to insult her than any (mis)quotes from the Obama camp. Are you her father, or her running mate? She's your VP for chrissakes - a heartbeat away from the presidential seat; not your fragile daughter who warrants your protection (even though she's certainly young enough to be). You don't seem to realize that you're likely hurting your candidacy more than helping it by keeping her in a bubble. Unleash her!

Michael Moore's 'Slacker Uprising' Now Available Online

I posted an entry on this 2 1/2 weeks ago, which you can read HERE, as well as watch the film's trailer. Now it's arrived for your viewing pleasure, for FREE.

Below is the email sent yesterday by Moore's camp, to anyone who signed up previously to receive notification of the film's online release.

Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2008 00:28:59 -0400 (EDT)

From: "Michael Moore"
Subject: 'Slacker Uprising' Now Belongs to You (Down/Load, Rise/Up!)

It's officially September 23rd and my new film, "Slacker Uprising," is now premiering live at! It is available for free as a gift from me to all of you. And you have my permission to share it or show it in any way you see fit.

Watch it all:

At that link, there are five ways you can watch it free and without advertising:

1. is providing streaming right from, free of commercials and advertising.

2. Amazon Video on Demand will provide a higher resolution version of the above stream for people with lots of bandwidth. It will be available in a few hours.

3. iTunes will make it easy for you to download "Slacker Uprising" on your iTunes, iPod, or Apple TV, and view it there or transmit it to your television. This way, the film can be portable as well as for home viewing. This will be available soon.

4. Hypernia is providing bandwidth and servers to host MPEG4 and DivX versions of "Slacker Uprising" online, so you can burn a DVD or download the film to watch on your computer, XBOX, or PS3.

5. Lycos is providing free streaming of the film and an on-demand version.

Stream it, download it, burn it now. It's the first time a major feature-length film is being released for free on the internet. You can be part of this historic moment by logging on now!


Michael Moore

P.S. Remember, we're doing something that's never been done, so I have no idea how it will all go! Don't give up if it seems to go slow (like with any streaming, give the downloading a head start before you hit play), and don't forget there are two places where you can actually download it to your hard drive and three ways to stream it. You can get to all of them at the link above.

P.P.S. If you're not yet registered to vote, here's a good link: There's less than two weeks for you to get registered, especially if you have moved since the last time you voted.

Trailer - 'Notorious'

No... not the Alfred Hitchcock film starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman... but rather, the premiere trailer for the Biggie Smalls bio-pic that stars Jamal Woolard as The Notorious B.I.G, Derek Luke as Sean Combs, Angela Bassett plays Violetta Wallace (Biggie's mom), and Anthony Mackie as Tupac. Notorious opens in January.

The First Ad For The G1, Google's Android-Based Phone

Looks cool enough for me... not sure if it trumps the iPhone though... time will tell...

I've Been Labeled An Elitist Several Times...

... And if the definition of the term in this article by Sheila Suess Kennedy is definitive, it's a label I'll gladly wear!

She states, regarding charges of Obama's so-called elitism by the Repubes:
"It's simple, once we realize that this "elitism" doesn't have anything to do with wealth or even privilege. It is an attribute of intellect. The charge of elitism is a manifestation of America's longstanding and unfortunate subtext of anti-intellectualism, and its use during this campaign is both revealing and disturbing..."

She then poses and answers a very necessary question:
"What does contempt for intellect tell us about the policy processes we might expect in a McCain Administration? First, it is a clear signal that policy decisions will be ideological, rather than pragmatic or evidence-based. People who dismiss scholarship, who sneer at research and place a high premium on speedy decision-making, are not likely to gather all the relevant data before making a decision. These are people who prefer certainty, who believe in "listening to my gut," rather than engaging in a thoughtful weighing of data or different perspectives. (We've had eight years of such decision-making, and we've seen how that works out.) Second, a President who dislikes "elitists"--defined as people who know what they are talking about--is unlikely to solicit advice from people who know what they are talking about. We can already see this in the staffing of the two campaigns: Obama has assembled advisors who are highly competent and accomplished; McCain's campaign is filled with "the usual subjects"--disproportionately lobbyists and political consultants. If we have ever needed an elitist--i.e., a really smart, thoughtful person--at the nation's helm, that time is now."

Check out the entire piece here: This Country Needs An Intellectual

South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, Ministers And Cabinet Step Down

Eleven South African ministers, half the cabinet, have said they are stepping down, following the resignation of Thabo Mbeki as the country's president.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the deputy president, too has agreed to quit, her spokesman said on Tuesday.

Trevor Manuel, the finance minister, a man perceived as being instrumental in South Africa's recent economic stability, is also among the officials reported to have resigned.

All the resignations will take effect after an official ceremony on Thursday, when the country's chief justice will swear in an interim president in the run-up to next year's general elections.

The ANC, which ousted Mbeki over the weekend, has recommended its deputy president, Kgalema Motlanthe, to take over as that post.

Mbeki's departure was forced in part by accusations that he interfered in the prosecution of his rival, Jacob Zuma.

The rest of the story here: MBEKI IMPEACHED

Say Hello To The Google Phone

Officially announced in a press conference earlier today, the long-awaited HTC Dream, the first commercial handset running Google's Android operating system, will be coming to T-Mobile as the G1 for $179 on October 22nd. This marks Google's foray into the mobile phone device market. Competitors beware! I'm hoping to get my hands on one of these when available.

Here are its specs, courtesy of Gizmodo:

- Date and Pricing: $179 on October 22nd. (That's with a two year contract.) Unlimited internet with "some messaging" will run $25/month. Unlimited internet and messaging is $35/month. Data plans will require voice plans.

- Screen: The G1 sports a 3.17" 65K color touchscreen that runs in HVGA (480×320) resolution.

- Battery Life: You can talk for 5 hours, or keep the phone in standby for 130 hours.

- Camera: 3.1MP, or right around 35mm 4x6 print quality.

- Frequency:GSM/GPRS/EDGE/Wi-Fi and UMTS/HSDPA 850/900/1700/1800/1900/2100Mhz

- Dimensions: 4.60” x 2.16” x 0.62”; Weight: 5.6 ounces. And available in white, black and brown.

- Storage: 1GB MicroSD card preinstalled. Supports 8GB MicroSD.

- GPS: Of course, what would Google Maps be without it?

- Google Maps: As we've seen in a recent update, the G1's Maps application will integrate Street View so you can see where you are going. But in an industry first, a built-in compass orients the map to your position.

- Android Market: Similar to the iPhone's mobile App Store, the Android Market will allow downloading of various Android apps from the phone, to the phone.

- Amazon MP3 Store: Amazon's MP3 store will be preloaded on every G1, allowing the download of 6 million DRM-free tracks with singles starting at 89 cents. Downloading music requires a Wi-Fi connection, previewing can be done over T-Mobile's network.

- YouTube: Yup, it's on there.

- Other Apps: ShopSavvy: designed to help people do comparative shopping; Ecorio: developed to help people keep track of their daily travels and view what their carbon footprint looks like; BreadCrumbz: enables people to create a step-by-step visual map using photos; customers can create their own routes, share them with friends or with the world.


Rachel Maddow's Bailout Analogy

I'm a fan... and so should you.

What's troubling about Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's $700 Billion 3-page plan is the stipulation that decisions made by Paulson within the plan "are non-reviewable by any court of law or administrative agency." Huh? Someone's developing a God complex. I don't like the sound of that.

Trailer - Tyler Perry's 'Madea Goes To Jail'

Just when you thought it was safe to go to your local movie theatre... the ever-prolific Tyler Perry unleashes yet another spawn of Madea on us... this time, behind bars. The Family That Preys has been in release for less than a month, and the man is already prepping us for his next release, Madea Goes To Jail, which hits theatres next February, just 5 months away! Damn!

If it's any consolation for Tyler Perry "haters," history isn't necessarily on TP's side. If he continues pumping out the same brand of product as frequently as he's done since his introduction to the theatrical stage, history tells us that audiences (no matter how faithful) are bound to tire of his shtick, and will eventually graduate from his offerings, or demand better from him. Either way, something will change sooner or later.

Here's the just released teaser trailer for
Madea Goes To Jail:

If Democrats Were Republicans They Would Run This Ad

Hat tip to a little Monday humor.

If the Democrats want to beat McCain/Palin, they need to start making Rovian-style attack ads. But since they won't, the folks over at apparently will.

More Heat For 'Miracle At St Anna'

Man, Spike is getting beaten up at the hands of film critics over Miracle At St Anna! The film opens this Friday, and I'll certainly be there opening night to take it all in. I'll post my thoughts afterwards... maybe.

Here are a few more discouraging reviews (hat tip to GreenCine):

From David Edelstein of New York Magazine:

"Miracle at St Anna will doubtless be extolled by people who mistake [Spike] Lee's righteous clobbering for moral seriousness," writes David Edelstein in New York. "Lee's climax is part punishing bloodbath, part florid religious uplift, and the coda is so maladroit it's hard to believe anyone on-set could keep a straight face."

And this one from Noel Murray of AV Club:

"This pains me to write, because I'm a lifelong fan of Spike Lee's, and I think his recent run of films (25th Hour, Inside Man, When The Levees Broke) has been downright inspiring, but Miracle at St Anna is a botch of the first order, a movie that telegraphs its leadenness in its first 10 minutes, and departs two-and-a-half hours later having left behind maybe two or three memorable scenes."

And this one from Eric Kohn at the Jaman Blog:

"Lee's noble attempt to create a World War II drama with African American soldiers fails to create a compelling narrative, marred as it is by forced melodrama and a shoddy screenplay that sounds like some kind of second rate pulp novel from the 50s," writes Eric Kohn at the Jaman Blog. "The director undoubtedly qualifies as one of the finest American filmmakers of the last 30 years, but he might work better on his home turf."

However, there is one bright spot. From James Rocchi at Cinematical:

"There are moments here where the film does not work, where you can feel the sharp needle of disbelief or dislocation puncture the film mercilessly, and there are other moments that are not only willing but indeed eager to look at big, challenging, relevant issues of race and power, war and justice, faith and failure," writes James Rocchi at Cinematical. "These moments - and there are many of them - not only speak to Lee's unwavering skill and commitment as a filmmaker, but also to the singular nature of his talent and will. When Miracle at St Anna falters, it's in the moments that seem like they could have been crafted by any other filmmaker; when Miracle at St Anna succeeds, it's in the moments that could only have been crafted by Lee."

Tick, tock, tick, tock...

'Shock Doctrine' - The Movie

And speaking of Naomi Klein and The Shock Doctrine, I found this thrilling piece of news from

Michael Winterbottom begins work on Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine
21 Sep 2008 11:00

Michael Winterbottom and Road To Guantanamo collaborator Mat Whitecross are working on a filmed version of "The Shock Doctrine," based on a book of the same name by Naomi Klein, which aims to expose what she calls "disaster capitalism". The theory is that neo-liberal capitalism feeds on natural disasters, war and terror to establish its dominance.

Klein herself will narrate the film, as she did a short film of the same name last year, directed by Alfonso and Jonas Cuaron.

Winterbottom´s film will again explore major events in history where the shock doctrine seems to apply, focusing particularly on the dictatorships in Argentina and Chile in the 1970s.

"I have started shooting segments of the film already with Naomi Klein narrating (reprising her role from the short film)," Winterbottom told ScreenDaily.

Here's the short film directed by Alfonso and Jonas Cuaron, based on the book, which went viral last year.


Naomi Klein On Government's Economic Intervention

Naomi Klein, author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine, both books I highly recommend, comments on last week's rumble in the financial sector on her website....

Here's a bit:

"This spectacle necessarily raises the question: if the state can intervene to save corporations that took reckless risks in the housing markets, why can't it intervene to prevent millions of Americans from imminent foreclosure? By the same token, if $85bn can be made instantly available to buy the insurance giant AIG, why is single-payer health care – which would protect Americans from the predatory practices of health-care insurance companies – seemingly such an unattainable dream? And if ever more corporations need taxpayer funds to stay afloat, why can't taxpayers make demands in return – like caps on executive pay, and a guarantee against more job losses?

But the crisis we are seeing calls for even deeper changes than that. The reason these junk loans were allowed to proliferate was not just because the regulators didn't understand the risk. It is because we have an economic system that measures our collective health based exclusively on GDP growth. So long as the junk loans were fuelling economic growth, our governments actively supported them. So what is really being called into question by the crisis is the unquestioned commitment to growth at all costs. Where this crisis should lead us is to a radically different way for our societies to measure health and progress.

None of this, however, will happen without huge public pressure placed on politicians in this key period. And not polite lobbying but a return to the streets and the kind of direct action that ushered in the New Deal in the 1930s. Without it, there will be superficial changes and a return, as quickly as possible, to business as usual.


Hey New Yorkers - Spike Lee At Soho Apple Store

I'll definitely be there!

This Thursday, the 25th of September, Spike Lee will be at the Apple store in Soho (103 Prince Street) to screen clips, answers questions, and discusses the making of his latest film, Miracle at St. Anna. Showtime is at 7:00 p.m.